It’s fitting that Irish Country Living’s photoshoot with Pat and Faye Shortt takes place at the Lime Tree Theatre in Co Limerick.

After all, it was on this very stage that Faye – then in transition year – realised that she had a passion for drama; and that her father witnessed her talent for the first time.

“She was incredible in the show, she stole the moment and I thought to myself, ‘Jaysus!’” recalls Pat.

“I was very proud, because I travelled a lot doing shows and films, I was gone a lot. I never saw a lot of [Faye’s] shows: that was my first one.”

“Dad had the pleasure of being the fun parent,” adds Faye wryly. “When he would come home, he would say, ‘Let’s go for sweets’ and we had Monday night Chinese. But mum was the one who had to do the strict parenting, like ‘You’re not going drinking in bushes!’”

Pressure of performing

These days, of course, the father-daughter comedy duo spend plenty of time together, touring their latest nationwide sketch show, Knuckle Down.

Having Pat Shortt as her father, there was pressure on Faye at the start. Was she going to be as funny? Could she hold a crowd? Having initially shied away from the fact her father was famous, Faye is now delighted to be joining him on stage.

“I remember someone asked me, ‘Are you Pat’s daughter?’ and I said no,” she says. “At the time, I wanted to make my own name. But then you get to a certain age where you’re like, do you know what? I should be more thankful and appreciative of the opportunities. I’m so proud and delighted to be working alongside him.”

Creative development

As well as performing, the pair also create their shows together, using a mix of sketch and stand-up, with a hook to draw their audiences in. Their latest production is based on the theme that everyone can identify with: education.

“Each character is somewhat attached to the school format, but to be honest, even when we were writing it, half the time we came up with characters and then we just kind of swayed and made it into the world,” explains Faye.

What does one do to prepare themselves to go on stage in a theatre in front of hundreds of people? Well, Faye and Pat have a completely unique approach.

“I definitely have a more physical warm up that I do most nights. I have developed it since doing the first show and I still do it before I go on, but Dad always takes the mick out of me!” says Faye, as Pat laughs.

In contrast, he prefers to be in the theatre at least two hours before the show and check that everything – such as the sound system – is sorted, which makes him relaxed.

“Then if something goes wrong, you have time, so while Faye goes out doing all the stage stuff, I am quite happy to be sitting in the dressing room with full knowledge that everything’s ready to go,” says Pat. “ Both of us are very hands-on and we’re a pain in the arse for perfection. We want it to be perfection.”

Pat Shortt, his daughter Faye and journalist Sarah McIntosh getting in on the act during the cover story photoshoot

The future of comedy

Faye hopes to continue working in the comedy industry.

“What I have realised from working with Dad is that I really want to pursue this type of show format, I absolutely love doing it,” she says. “It’s stand-up comedy with sketch comedy as well. I think comedy, thank God, is doing brilliant at the moment. Anyone who’s doing comedy shows seem to be successfully making their living out of it by travelling and touring around Ireland.”

With Killinaskully being repeated on RTÉ at the moment, their audience covers a wide age range, which is amusing for Pat as many people wouldn’t have been born when Killinaskully first aired. Using platforms like TikTok and Instagram to promote characters and scenes, the pair have a big social media following and their shows are selling out very quickly.

Pat isn’t short of big career moments from acting, writing, comedy, producing and everything in between, but he admits performing with his daughter on stage is one of the biggest ones.

“I would have to say that 100%, working on the stage with my daughter is incredible and to do it in a place like the Opera House in Cork. Yes, I’ve done Broadway and the West End, they were highlights. The Banshees was another one and winning an IFTA for Garage,” says Pat.

His next venture will be a television show for RTÉ called Songs of Ireland with musician Mike Hanrahan that is set to air on 27 April.

“The reason that is a big highlight for me, is that I got back to play music on a professional level,” says Pat. “I was lucky in my time to play with Jon [Kenny of D’Unbelievables] all over the place, I met loads of great musicians, played sessions with them.”

The show took the pair around 20 counties where they gave young and upcoming musicians a traditional song associated with that county to re-interpret.

“We went to Kerry, and Lorraine Nash is a young singer in her 20s,” says Pat. “The song that you’d associate with Kerry is Wild Colonial Boy, an old Irish song, and it was her version of it. We got Billy Keane down there to talk to us about the song, to tell us the history. We then performed it with her. She is the artist, me and Mike are accompanists and that’s what we did in all 20 counties.”

Pat Shortt and his daughter Faye

Always on the clock

When Pat goes to his local shop or bumps into people out and about people always expect him to be funny.

“Oh yeah, they expect him to be funny 24/7, but he is though,” says Faye jokingly.

“As I always say, the day they stop recognising me, we’re in trouble,” Pat says while laughing.

To switch off, Faye goes to the gym and does reformer Pilates and exercise classes. Pat, on the other hand, enjoys shooting, fishing, boating and motorbikes; but when he is at home, he loves to bake bread.

“My current one is pecan and blueberry bread, but also just traditional Irish brown bread and just a basic white bread,” says Pat. “The thing about bread is it’s so simple, it takes a while to get it right and everybody will tell you that. You will make mistakes, you leave it too long, every oven is different.”

• Dates and tickets for Knuckle Down are available from and various outlets. The tour will continue until 2025

Balor Arts Centre Ballybofey, Friday 19th April 2024

Abbey Arts Centre Ballyshannon, Saturday 20th April 2024

An Táin Dundalk, Friday 26th April 2024

Mermaid Arts Centre Bray, Saturday 27th April 2024

Mall theatre Tuam, Friday 3rd May 2024

Westport Town Hall Theatre, Saturday 4th May 2024

A blast from the past: writing for Irish Country Living

Some of our readers are no strangers to Pat’s writing style – although you might not realise it. For a time, he penned columns under the name of Councillor Maurice Hickey, in Irish Country Living.

“Maurice Hickey is a character I did on the programme, Exit Poll. He was a local councillor and it was coming up to election at the time. Jim O’Brien, editor of Journal 2 (now Irish Country Living), approached me… I knew him very well and he said, ‘Look, this would be great, would you be interested in doing an article for us?’” recalls Pat.

After two years, however, Pat had to tell Jim he had to give it up as Killinaskully was in “full flight”.

“I was getting up at 4am in the morning to get it done in time for the deadline. So, Jim said if I didn’t mind, he’d love to take it on and be the ghostwriter for it. I got a massive reaction from it and I knew that the Irish Farmers Journal is a huge paper.”

Read more

Consumer: low-cost finance for retrofitting upgrades

Health special: coping with the unexpected side of farming